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Renoise Native Monophonic Synthesiser


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#1 dblue

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 19:36

Using a few clever tricks it's actually possible to do some basic synthesis in Renoise using nothing but native DSP devices.

I know this has been discussed before by other people on the forum, and there have been a few examples of creating ambient noises and sound fx this way, but I can't remember if I've seen an actual playable instrument yet?

Anyway...

DC Offset provides the basic starter signal which is then modulated by the RingMod device, thus creating an oscillator. Then we can take a Key-Tracking Device and use it to reset an LFO with a carefully programmed custom envelope, which feeds into the RingMod frequency in order to tune it to the pitch of the notes you play. You now have the foundation of a monophonic synth! :)/>

Some demos...

Breakdown of a basic sawtooth sound:
dblue-ringmod-monophonic-synth-demo.xrns

Some slightly more detailed sounds:
dblue-ringmod-monophonic-synth-v2.xrns

Demo songs/patterns including fully synthesised drums, bass, synth, pad, etc.:
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo-v2.xrns
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo.xrns
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#2 centipus

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 20:30

Awesome job dblue! I've posted a similar idea in the past a couple of times, but your use of the line in device and custom LFO is vastly superior to my half-assed out-of-tune design.

Thanks for sharing!
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#3 dblue

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 20:49

your use of the line in device

It also works nicely with a looped sample of 'nothing' with DC offset applied to it, and in some cases this actually gives you more control over certain things. I just thought I would use the line-in device in this example to gain a few extra l33t points :)

Edit: I forgot to mention that I'm still ironing out a few potential problems with this setup, like making sure the DC offset doesn't get too out of hand and cause a lot of distortion. This could be done with either a highpass filter or DC offset remover positioned directly after the RingMod device. I'm still experimenting to see which is best.

#4 rhowaldt

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 22:24

This could be done with either a highpass filter or DC offset remover positioned directly after the RingMod device. I'm still experimenting to see which is best.


seriously, i have a lot to learn. everytime i read about stuff you do, i only understand half of what you are talking about. i have no idea what DC offset does, for example. impressive stuff, keep it up!

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#5 MLoN

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 22:48

l33t points for you! :)

#6 00.1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 00:06

Nice, I'll have to take a closer look at how to use the key tracking and velocity device more, I don't use it as much as the other modulation devices.

Thanks :)

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#7 martyfmelb

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 07:40

I do like this. Saved 'looped silence' version of the chain in my DSP presets folder.

Trickery like this makes the perfect demonstration use-case for allowing DSP chains inside instruments.
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#8 Djeroek

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:15

Trickery like this makes the perfect demonstration use-case for allowing DSP chains inside instruments.



#9 maes

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:19

tried it yesterday, sounds coo!

#10 BamBooli

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 15:46

Ufff ... :blink:

dblue is a chance you can make some routing-pictures to make it clear how this work?
It is not easy to follow it. ^_^

#11 dblue

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:06

It is not easy to follow it.


Maybe this will be a bit easier to follow:
dblue-ringmod-monophonic-synth-demo.xrns

I've broken it down into 3 steps that show how I build things up:
  • 1: Basic oscillator sound
  • 2: Oscillator with a volume envelope
  • 3: Oscillator with volume and filter envelopes

Basically, the RingMod effect modulates the amplitude of a signal, right? If you put a vocal sample through RingMod, then you get that weird kind of robotic sound, because the voice is being modulated by a sinewave or whatever you're using. Well, we can take advantage of this to actually produce new sounds, rather than simply modifying existing ones in the traditional way.

If you apply RingMod to silence, then you get... silence... because there's no signal to actually modulate. So this is where the DC offset comes into play. By applying a manual DC offset to our silence, we now have a very rough (and very flat) signal that we can work with. We have changed the input audio from a constant stream of 0.0's into a constant stream of 0.5's, for example. When we apply RingMod to this new signal, it actually has some values that it can modulate, which in turn creates sound. We're now changing that boring sound of 'nothing' into a sinewave, or a sawtooth, or a square, etc.

(I've included another instrument/sample called 'Silence + DC Offset' which simply shows the modified signal, to get a better understanding of how the DSP chain starts out)

From there, you can do more interesting things like shape the signal with a volume envelope. To do this I'm using a Gainer, which is being controlled by an LFO Device with a custom envelope shape, which is in turn being reset by a Velocity Device each time a note is triggered. You can do a similar thing with a Filter instead of a Gainer to give the sound a more interesting tone. The DSP chains might look complex, but it's really just a combination of various simple things stacked together in order to change the sound. You don't have to focus so much on these, just focus on the very basics first, and the rest will eventually fall into place.

The RingMod wouldn't be very useful to begin with unless it could be accurately tuned to the correct frequency for each note, so this is where my first custom LFO comes into play. This was probably the trickiest part of the whole process. I had to write a program to generate the correct envelope points for all 120 notes (C-0 to B-9), which I copied as XML from my program into Renoise. I use the Key-Tracking device to read the note that is played in the pattern, and then I translate this to an LFO reset command that corresponds to the correct point in the custom envelope. The LFO then sets the RingMod frequency to the correct value to match the note.

#12 danoise

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:08

Amazing stuff!!


a carefully programmed custom envelope

To me, this is the best part: as each tone has a unique frequency, by changing the envelope's points you can create a whole new scale, or just mess with the timbres.

Just to confirm, I made a pentatonic scale by removing a lot of the entries:
Spoiler

Pentatonic is also known as the "black keys scale". In this scale, there's only 52 frequencies for entire keyboard, or 5 per octave.
Paste the code into the LFO device's custom envelope, et voila. It can even be saved as a new LFO device preset...

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#13 datassette

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:12

awesoemz!

#14 dblue

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:17

To me, this is the best part: as each tone has a unique frequency, by changing the envelope's points you can create a whole new scale, or just mess with the timbres.

Exactly :)

The program I wrote to help me generate the envelope points actually takes this into account. I set it up so that it would be possible to put in your own custom tunings, for example. I'll try to clean it up at some point and release it as a public tool.

#15 Guest_Matt_*

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:07

dblue you stole my only ever good renoise idea, grrr
I guess its in the presentation

#16 dblue

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:18

dblue you stole my only ever good renoise idea, grrr
I guess its in the presentation

Sorry mate, did you already post this technique somewhere?

#17 dblue

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 23:57

Taking this concept a few (big) steps further...

Here's a quick little electro(ish) demo pattern that I've created:
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo.xrns

It even has drums!


To be perfectly honest, I've even surprised myself by what is actually possible here. It's been great fun experimenting with this! Hopefully it will inspire some of you to dig a little deeper into the awesome power of Renoise :)


Edit: Something a bit more dubstep-y just for fun:
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo-v2.xrns
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#18 martyfmelb

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 01:00

Nailed the concept truly and completely ^_^

I like the use of lo-fi as a noise generator. And there I was feeding detuned sine-waves into a 100% fold distortion :)
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#19 Garf

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:31

lol that's amazing

#20 00.1

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:38

Taking this concept a few (big) steps further...

Here's a quick little electro(ish) demo pattern that I've created:
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo.xrns

It even has drums!


To be perfectly honest, I've even surprised myself by what is actually possible here. It's been great fun experimenting with this! Hopefully it will inspire some of you to dig a little deeper into the awesome power of Renoise :)


Edit: Something a bit more dubstep-y just for fun:
dblue-renoise-native-device-synth-demo-v2.xrns

I like both of them, the dubstep-y one or both would be cool included as a Renoise demo tune.

It'd be funny if you released a silent album.

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#21 00.1

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:45

Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (Renoise remix using the RindMod concept as a demo song ?)

Edited by 00.1, 11 October 2010 - 02:48.

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#22 Guest_Matt_*

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 14:07

http://www.renoise.c...=1 mentioned it here, posted an example way before then somewhere although can't find it. 440.xrns was called :0(

Sorry mate, did you already post this technique somewhere?



#23 Guest_Matt_*

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 14:19

From being for some reason annoyed that you took onboard my 440.xrns and got kudos for it you have in some way made me feel that I can actually come up with good ideas sometimes, which can be rare for me so I can only thank you for that, http://www.renoise.c...=1 present and example the plucked strings please, I didn't play with that concept much or present it as I should have. anyway it all routed from the zero instrument demo anyway :0)

#24 dblue

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 14:47

mentioned it here, posted an example way before then somewhere although can't find it. 440.xrns was called :0(

From being for some reason annoyed that you took onboard my 440.xrns and got kudos for it you have in some way made me feel that I can actually come up with good ideas sometimes


Well, I'm sorry if you feel like I stole anything from you or took credit for it, because I did not use any of your work as the basis for my own stuff. Your plucked string demo is interesting, too, but I think it's quite obvious that we are using pretty different approaches. Hopefully my demo song speaks for itself.

Many other forum users have posted about similar techniques over the years, and there have been some nice examples of different sounds and fx being created in this way. It's definitely not a new idea, and I certainly wasn't the first to try it, but I have actually been using this RingMod technique in various different ways for quite a long time now, even combining it with a Key-Tracking Device to do some crude note-to-frequency stuff. But it wasn't until quite recently that I added the custom LFO to precisely map the notes/frequencies and then this idea really started to take shape.

Anyway, I hope there are no hard feelings here.

#25 Pysj

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 16:00

Great examples and text as usual by dblue.

@Matt
If it's any comfort I can say that I tried this technique in renoise quite some years ago :P
It's not like the idea is new or revolutionary. It's just basic sound synthesis in basically the same way it was done in hardware since the first synthesizer arrived. Anyone dealing with the inside of synthesizers or use a modular systems use these techniques all the time.
Actually one of the first things I did when both the ringmod and custom lfo was available in renoise was to painstakingly add all 88 freq points using the automation window to copy/paste to custom LFO. That was just "naturally" the fist thing I thought about since this is what you mainly use a keytracking device for in the hardware world (don't know if I ever posted anything in the forums using it). The lfo is just the difference here in renoise, as it is very flexible and can be used as a scaler, part of a switch and for use of relative adjustments (offset parameter).
And, yes, presentation is what dblue does better then most people.
It's actually dblue's "job" to help others around here (I think!) :)

Anyway, I have quite a lot of synthesis stuff laying around too. Never really bothered to post much about it, as it quickly just look like devices gone mad for most people. But the sound is good as most vsti (especially after rendering in sinc 96khz).
I even made a 'synth interface' somewhere using hydras as the "control panel". It had emulated adsr devices, PWM and velocity sensitive settings etc. It's however not that easy for others to understand as we can not rename devices yet.
I'll see if I can find some of them and clean them up for any one to dissect and digest.
I however like just as much to use instrument section as oscillators. You can instantly make so many weird noises (and very musically noises too!) by playing polyphonic stuff before the common filter(s) and let keytracking and velocity devices work on frequencies they originally was not suppose to be used on.
And using a midi keyboard where you adjust your playing style a little, you can easily use these techniques as a semi polyphonic synth as well.
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